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What a Photographer Looks for in a Wedding Venue | Wedding Tips

When it comes to picking a wedding venue, you want to make sure that you’re going to have the best opportunity to get the best wedding portraits.  Naturally, as wedding photographers, we’re going to try our best to make sure that we get the most out of the venue in the photos.  At the same time, there are some things to look out for when choosing your wedding venue.  So here are what a photographer looks for in a wedding venue.

Things that a Wedding Photographer Looks for in a Wedding Venue

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, I wanted to go ahead and state that this isn’t an end all be all list of tips for choosing your wedding venue.  We’ve kind of covered that already.  This is more of how Marta and I see things as we go throughout the day at several wedding venues that we’ve been to in past weddings.  This by no means makes one venue better than the other, but it can help with getting the best photos for your wedding day.

Getting Ready Location 

The room or area that a bride or groom are getting ready should have rich natural light coming in through the windows.  An experienced wedding photographer will go in and move things around in order to get you into the best light possible.

Something that a lot of photographers will do is turn off lights inside and open the closest window to the bride wherever she’s getting ready. It might seem a little dark wherever you’re getting ready, but trust me when I say that a single light source is important.  The reason being is that the lights inside (lamps, flood lights, etc.) usually add an orange tint.  Have that mix with the blue natural light that’s coming in through the window and things start to look a little weird.

bride touching up hair
hanging wedding dress

Lighting Throughout the Day

One of the biggest things that affect photography and the style of photography is the light that the photographer has to work with.  It’s hard to manipulate light in order to get a specific style if the light doesn’t favor it.  Usually, the best time for your wedding ceremony is in the early afternoon.  The light starts to get softer and warmer, which is flattering for anyone and everyone.

what a photographer looks for in a wedding venue

It’s important to keep in mind how things will look at your ceremony site during your ceremony time.  There are venues where the light is utterly blinding during ceremony time, others are half-lit and cast in shadows, and then there are some that are covered completely in the shadow of the venue or nearby building.

Rainy Day Wedding Ceremony Backup

I think it goes without saying, but it rains a lot in Florida during specific times of the year.  Sometimes things can get pretty crazy when it comes to the weather.  It’s always good to have a rainy day back up.  The weather can be unpredictable, so it’s good to look into what the venue does for a backup if it rains.

When you see their backup location, ask yourself if this is something that you’re okay with for having your wedding ceremony.  If it’s a solid no, then I’d recommend looking elsewhere (depending on what time of year you’re having your wedding).  Of course, if you don’t like the backup plan, then maybe consider getting a tent for the night.

first kiss during wedding at winter park farmers market

Space for Wedding Portraits

There are plenty of venues that have a ridiculous amount of opportunities when it comes to wedding portraits.  In some places, the photographs practically take themselves.  Regardless of where you’re getting married, a photographer always looks at things with a specific eye.  They always try to of things like light, patterns, lines, and repetition.  For us, we always look at symmetry and “framing” a portrait before anything happens.

Location, timing, and lighting are some of the most important things that we take into account when we’re planning things before the wedding day.  Finding the right location for the portraits that we want to photograph is important to us.  We only want the best for our couples, after all.  

jw marriot wedding guests

Logistics for Wedding Guests and Vendors

It’s very easy to look at a wedding venue and not completely understand how much space you have.  Especially, when you aren’t involved in the logistics of wedding planning.

The reason we look at things like that is for the planning of light stands and also family formals.  We want to make sure that we have enough space to have everything set and ready to go when you are.  We don’t want to waste your time, let alone make you wait.

Air Conditioning

It’s Florida.  It gets ridiculously hot in Summer.  Like to the point where people stick to indoor weddings to avoid the heat.  That being said, we’ll prepare accordingly in order to ensure our safety and health.  There are some outdoor wedding venues that close down for July and August because it just gets too hot.  

For guests though, we’d recommend that there’s plenty of water.  The last thing that you want is for people to pass out from heat exhaustion throughout your wedding ceremony, cocktail hour, or wedding reception.

Secure Space to Leave Gear

Having a secure place to store our gear is something that is often overlooked at by wedding venues.  It’s a small gesture, but it has a resounding effect on vendors.  When venues treat vendors well, and they’ll sing praises to any and all couples.  A prime example of that is the Alfond Inn in Winter Park.  They always take care of the vendors working the events there, so we’ll always take care of them.

In the event that there isn’t a place to store our gear, then we usually leave it near the DJ or band, since they’re in a stationary location.  They tend to be vigilant when it comes to gear.  


Not all wedding venues are created equally.  When talking about what a photographer looks for in a wedding venue, there are several things that we look at.  Lighting, location, photo opportunities, air conditioning, and safety.  All of these things come together in order to give us a genuine impression of a venue, and something that we can safely recommend for a couples wedding day.

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